Applying for a wallet-depletion allowance

I’d done a preliminary run-through of my 2010 tax return in late January, inasmuch as I’d received all the pertinent forms to be included therein, and the results were sufficiently deflating to the pocketbook that I resolved to stall as long as possible. Nothing had changed between then and now, of course, but I still had to print out all that paperwork, review it for internal consistency — by which I mean “if you use the middle initial on the 1040, don’t spell out the full name on Schedule A, you knucklehead” — and then write a large check. So that was yesterday’s project, between dinner (combo #2 at Popeye’s) and the basketball game, motivated at least slightly by the desire to get this damn thing out of the house so I don’t obsess over it any further.

And no, I didn’t consider farming out the task to one of the professionals, such as they are; I used to be one of the professionals, such as I was, and I’m pretty good at keeping up with things.

Still, every year I start the form, I ask “Why the hell doesn’t Congress do anything about this?” The answer, unsurprisingly, is always “Why should they care? It’s not like they have to do this themselves.” Which suggests a piece of Fantasy Legislation: all 535 of them have to complete their returns, on camera, live on C-Span, on April 14th. If that doesn’t give them some motivation to clean up this misbegotten system, nothing will.


  1. Tatyana »

    3 April 2011 · 11:45 am

    Last year I was like you – I did it myself. (sounds a lot like “I performed appendectomy on myself”, isn’t it?)

    Filled Turbotax forms. Took me about day and a half. I guessed a lot, despite all their assurances to the contrary (that they leave guessing out of the process).
    Was very happy when finally finished and sent out a check.
    This year I returned to my usual CPA, and gave him last year file to review. Not bad, he said, you only missed about $600 federal and $800 state return money. Others screw up in thousands.
    So tomorrow I’ll write checks for 2010. Not in hundreds, no.

  2. CGHill »

    3 April 2011 · 12:35 pm

    I suspect your return is far more complicated than mine, which tends toward the cut-and-dried. (Four pages, max.) I had two issues this year that I didn’t have the previous year, but one was uncomplicated, if painful, and the other didn’t meet the requirements for claiming a loss.

  3. Tatyana »

    3 April 2011 · 12:44 pm

    I had to fill 4 schedules in Appendix, for which I had to dig up various receipts, calculate amount of sq.footage in my dwelling that I use for freelance work’ purposes, etc – only to confirm at the end that “if the figure on line XX is bigger than 0, enter 0 on line YY”. Haha.
    Also, since I decided to convert portion of my IRA into Roth, my “paper income” jumped up.
    And I have a feeling next year I will shake my head remembering these concerns…

  4. grannie elbow »

    3 April 2011 · 1:50 pm

    I like your idea. I can’t believe anyone can understand those directions, let alone the elaborate codes behind them.

  5. Bayou Renaissance Man »

    4 April 2011 · 7:07 am

    How to make tax time more bearable?…

    I like it! I wonder if we could get the Tea Party to back this, and push it through the Representatives and Senators who support their “Taxed Enough Already” position? I’ll volunteer to write to mine, for sure!…

  6. fillyjonk »

    4 April 2011 · 7:21 am

    Every year I swear “next year, I’m hiring someone.” And then every year I cheap out and spend a day of my spring break cussing over the forms. (This year, especially: I did not quite grasp, when I converted a conventional IRA to a Roth, just how big the tax bite would be. Or maybe I grasped it but immediately put it out of my mind…)

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